I haven't written an update in much too long, and I apologize for that. When I planned to take last week off from work so I could get caught up on projects around the house I didn't consider how busy I would be.
I'm not even going to attempt to list everything that I've worked on since my last post. I wouldn't be able to remember everything I did, or the day on which I did it even if I wanted to. I will, however, give some highlights.
Andrea and I finished placing the stepping stones and walkways for the herb garden. This allowed her to finish planting most of the herbs and flowers she had planned. All that remains is to plant a couple more things, and to put in the trellis for the hops.
I installed the first rain barrel, and have another ready to be installed. Andrea has already been using water from the installed barrel for watering the herb garden. I'm hopeful that we'll be able to switch to using the rain barrels for most of our watering needs, rather than hauling water from the creek or using the chlorinated water from the municipal supply. Andrea did use the municipal water for the plants she started from seed, and has began to suspect that it is the reason for the delayed growth of the pepper plants. She has switched them to creek water, and they seem to be doing much better. Hopefully we'll still be able to get them in the ground early enough to get a decent yield.
I used the tractor and landscape rake to rake up grass clippings for the first time, and it actually worked out fairly well. I can see why people don't want to use the implement in a lawn for raking clippings, as it did pull up some grass, but where I used it, across the road, that really wasn't a concern. I was able to rake up enough to make a full load in the RTV bed, which we then used to mulch the tomatoes and some of the garlic.
I spent a few days visiting family and getting my Dad's help with a few projects. I took the mower in to see if he could help me figure out what was wrong with it. I thought it needed new bearings, which I had bought, and likely needed the belt replaced. It turns out, however, that the problem was simply that the large nut holding the pulley in place was loose, which was allowing the blades to wobble and the belt to work free. It was a simple fix, but I wouldn't have been able to do it here anyway without buying some tools, which I've since done for the next time it happens. He also helped me build a rig for hauling a 55 gallon barrel of water. I wanted to be able to lay a barrel down, lengthways, on something that I could tow behind the RTV. He had an old riding mower frame, that was partially stripped down already that we used. It seems like it is going to work out well. I just need to add a spigot and maybe cut a hole in the barrel to make filling it easier. Lastly, since I was driving the truck, we filled the bed with wood chips that the local tree trimmers had dumped near their house. We had been considering mulching some un-dyed wood chips to use as mulch, so it was nice to get a load that cost nothing other than the effort to load them.
While I was gone, we had some new additions to the family. Daisy, the cat who only fairly recently began staying here, had kittens. There are four of them, and they seem to be doing well so far. I suppose this solves our need for getting another cat or two to help keep the rodent population in check. I just hope that the dogs, and Kitty for that matter, tolerate them ok.
Aside from the big projects I listed, we worked on a lot of smaller projects over the past week and a half. My time away from work was productive, although very tiring. My initial thought was that I was glad I didn't have to work like that every week, but as I thought about it more I changed my mind. I enjoy being outside, and don't mind a little hard work. While last week was very tiring, I'm sure I could get use to it if it was something I did regularly. I could certainly get a lot more done around here if not for that pesky day job. Of course the lack of money would quickly offset any benefits from not having a job.